Bell Science - Our Mr. Sun (1956)
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Serious baby-boomer nostalgia.
Nearly a thousand prints of this enchanting, campy, semi-animated science film were distributed to school systems free-of-charge, hence millions of 1950s-1970s American school students sat through it in the dark as the 16mm projector clickity-clacked away.
It may lack educational value today - but it's sure to bring back fond classroom and childhood memories to those who saw it then. And that's the only real reason to view it now.
BACKSTORY: After a quintet of poorly-received post-WWII films, legendary director Frank Capra signed on to craft this film, then three others, in this series-of-nine funded by AT&T/Bell, ie, The Bell Laboratory Science Series (1956-1964). In those heady days, many of America's brightest thinkers were housed inside Bell's New Jersey Long Line Labs, solving daunting quantitative & operational research problems for "the phone company." And discovering the first transistor, crude calculators and huge prime numbers in their spare time.
Capra's credited with the clever script, but Bell Lab brainiacs clearly contributed most of the cleverness - as well as the then-visionary discussions of greenhouse effect, population explosion, coming energy crisis and a solar-based alternative future. The wonder and magic of these films enticed much student interest in science - and popularized science with adults via CBS prime-time TV - just as America massively craved science to win The Cold War.
The entire series is lightly peppered with religious reference, likely to appease both Capra's Catholicism and an audience whose faith was being challenged by the rising onslaught of hard science.
RECOMMENDATION: Boomers, it won't seem quite so magical and amazing second time 'round, but still it's worth another 108 minutes of your time to gently revisit a time long gone by. For another dose, see "Hemo The Magnificent."
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